Fabian told me that managers and software developers plan their workday differently. While managers divide their day into blocks of one hour, developers tend to think in larger blocks of about four hours. While it is no problem for managers to pick an empty time slot to fit in a meeting, this block could prevent a developer from being productive, since this meeting will fragment his block leaving him less time to concentrate on a task at a stretch.
This story and a blog post I read some time ago made me think about interruptions at work. It seems there are interruptions we don't want and interruptions we perform by ourselves. The last is about multitasking: checking e-mails, feeds, Twitter or answering my coworkers via Instant Messaging. Some of us tend to use the small time gaps to do something else than the current task. It is so easy to read some feeds during a compiler run or wile you are waiting for SVN. But is that really necessary?
I myself tend to do lots of multitasking. I have always been a young and restless person using the smallest break to do something else. As I am getting older (and wiser, hopefully!) I tend to question things or at least I try to do things differently. As I can not avoid any interruption on my workday I can at least try to stay focussed and use time gaps for either giving my brains a break or to think about what I am doing at the moment. I will try to do one thing at a time. I will read e-mails less often, but more mails at a stretch instead. Same goes for RSS feeds and Twitter. I am not quite sure how to handle Instant Messaging, but I will probably at least finish my current thoughts before reading the message.
Do you have any experiences with monotasking? How do you handle interruptions and what are your strategies? Feel free to comment on this. :-)